For some families, picking out the Christmas tree is the holiday lesson of patience, diplomacy and collaboration.
But at our house, choosing the holiday card is what tests all of the above, plus some.
Let me clarify that a little.
It’s not the actual card that my dear family members care about. They could care less about the type of card stock or the printed holiday sentiment. It is all about what is on the card — i.e. the photos — that matter.
“No! Don’t use that picture,” my 14-year-old daughter screams in a panic when she sees a family photo I have placed as the front cover in my Shutterfly account. “I look terrible there!
“Can’t we use just one of me, instead? We usually do. I have some great shots of me dancing,” she continues.
“You look fine in the family picture,” my husband adds, not knowing that “fine” will only set him back a few steps in the argument and may even create a meltdown. “I think a family picture is more appropriate.”
But, after 20 minutes of trying to explain and ultimately failing to convince my daughter this year it might be nice to do a family photo on the front cover, I scraped it and was back to square one.
When did putting together a holiday card become so elaborate and contentious?
When I was younger, I looked forward to my contribution of licking the stamps and putting on the address labels. But, then again, that was before every card was a photo card, and before many families staged photo sessions for their holiday card or booklets.
“Mom, we can do a big family photo if we do a professional photo session?,” my daughter suggested as a compromise. “I just don’t like the ones you chose when we’re on vacation. They look so bad. Let’s just do a photo session tomorrow. Then everyone will be happy."
While we’ll all be happy with the card, the card will also be late, I explain to my daughter, who thinks everything is as easy and attainable as ordering something on Amazon Prime.
But with a couple hours to spare before my Shutterfly deal expired, I surprisingly came up with a card design that checked off everyone’s requests.
I found a single shot of Taryn for the front cover where she’s in silhouette so she couldn’t complain that it was a typical child pose or that she didn’t look photo perfect.
I found a family shot, where with a little bit of editing and filtering, was acceptable to all of us to use as the back main photo.
I squeezed in a small collage of event photos and captions on the back, rather than write a letter as my husband originally suggested.
And surprisingly, at the end of it all, everything looked aesthetically balanced — my only request.
With my first holiday balancing task completed, I’m ready for round two.
As the countdown gets underway, may you find that perfect balance of family and friends, old and new traditions, staying home and going out of town and finding that perfect blend of holiday love.